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Star Tribune – Al Franken, Tammy Baldwin: Avoiding an oil train explosion shouldn’t be a matter of luck

As U.S. senators — one from Minnesota and one from Wisconsin — we have always understood how important railroads are to the economy in each of our states. Our businesses and farmers rely upon rail service as a reliable way to move their products to markets across the country and around the world.

But on Wednesday, at a meeting in Minneapolis, we’ll hear from residents and local officials who have deep concerns about the dramatic expansion of rail cars carrying highly volatile and flammable crude oil from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota through Minnesota and Wisconsin to refineries in other states.

While the quick growth in oil trains has meant higher profits for the large railroads and skyrocketing tax revenue for the state of North Dakota, it also has put hundreds of communities in Minnesota and Wisconsin at risk for the explosive crashes that come when an oil train derails.

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